Raúl Ruiz

Carlos Saboga. Based on the novel by Camilo Castelo Branco.

Padre Dinis & Sabino Cabra & Sebastião de Melo: Adriano Luz
Ângela de Lima: Maria João Bastos
Elisa de Montfort: Clotilde Hesme
Pedro da Silva Adulto: José Afonso Pimentel

Best Film – Prix Louis Delluc (2010)


Music Box Films

Portugal, 2010
RATING Not Rated
GAUGE DVD, Blu-ray


“Shooting in digital, Mr. Ruiz makes his way fluidly through this unusual bildungsroman, which in less able hands could easily have transformed into a confusing narrative thicket. But there’s a lightness of touch here, despite the sometimes heavier moments, that extends from the prowling camera to the way Mr. Ruiz nestles one character’s memory inside other memories. As in “Vertigo,” the past in “Mysteries of Lisbon” doesn’t remain past but spirals into the present, overwhelming it to the point that Pedro — as his story is repeatedly overtaken — becomes a near-footnote in his own life, as is true of us all.”
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.

This majestic, magisterial film from Chilean-born maestro Raúl Ruiz, who died last year, is based on a labyrinthine, three-volume 19th century Portuguese novel by Camilo Castilo Branco. With its multitude of characters, Mysteries of Lisbon stretches across at least three different generations and, though set primarily in the capital city of the title, travels to multiple countries. The film is bookended by the voice-over of a character named Pedro da Silva—who, as a 14-year-old, goes by the name João. This young man serves as our guide in this multilayered, endlessly inventive movie: Believing himself to be an orphan, João soon discovers that he’s the son of a countess. This revelation leads to several other connections and mysteries to be unraveled, often involving one character’s memories nestled inside another’s. Mysteries of Lisbon, which begins as the story of one boy’s quest to discover his true origins, expands to include the reminiscences of legions. Much like Ruiz’s Time Regained (1999), a superb adaptation of the last volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Mysteries of Lisbon nimbly shifts from one perspective to the next, as the past and the present melt into one fluid time.

Special Note: Please note that because of the length of this film and the additional costs that will be charged by the distributor, should you choose to program this film with four other Tournées Festival films, you will receive an additional $460 with your grant if you screen it in 35mm, and $360 if you screen it in another format.



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